1973, Music

A Wizard A True Star (1973) by Todd Rundgren

If you’re like me, you wished that Something/Anything?could have been, well, weirder. Or, if not weirder, at least more varied. I personally find that the record doesn’t quite live up to its reputation for weirdness and variety. Well, be careful what you wish for.

It’s as if Rundgren felt the same way and the result is a record that is way weirder than his previous record. I wish I could say this made me happy.

The problem, for me, is often the weirdness is just fragments, rather than inserted into songs. And the weirdness is not that weird relative a lot of other weirder music. Much of what Rundgren is doing here is not very out there for anyone who listened to psychedelic music made in the late ’60s.Then, there’s the added problem that much of the avant garde stuff isn’t just done before, it’s dated rather horribly. What sounded weird in 1973 (frankly, only 1968) doesn’t sound weird in 2018, especially if we’re talking about flange or something like that.

In addition to a lack of strong songs, and a rather too conscious “Look how weird I am” vibe, there is the additional problem that the record is just too damn long. Rundgren has managed to stuff 55 minutes on to a single LP, rather than the usual 45. (I still don’t really understand how that was technologically possible back then, but maybe that’s why the sound isn’t great.) Where it’s the covers medley or the tracks with bird sounds and train noises and other silly things, this record does not need to be 55 minutes long. Had he kept it to a regular length, maybe I wouldn’g have gotten so annoyed.

All that being said, Rundgren sure hasn’t lacked his knack for melody, nor has he lost his ability to arrange those melodies in interesting ways. So this record is hardly a disaster, it’s just a bit of a mess.


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